August 18, 2015

What I learned this Summer: The Power of the Letter P.


I had arrived back from a wonderful eight weeks of exploring Europe. Every day was filled with new faces, places, adventure and excitement.

When I got home, I couldn’t help but find my mind wondering what I would do next, what would my summer hold for me. As I was catching up with friends, I came across a link a friend had sent me for an apprenticeship she thought I would be a great fit for.

About a week later my fate was sealed and I would be an elephant journal apprentice for the summer. Fluttered with excitement, I had no idea what to expect. Reflecting back, I learned the power of several powerful P words that carried through into my daily summer routine.


“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” ~ Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Having been out of school for almost five years, I had to refresh myself on some of my personal learning habits. The first week I found myself a little flustered with not knowing the routine. The second week I found myself battling time management. Throughout the summer, I found myself hurrying through things at times and frustrated with myself over silly oversights. It reminded me the power of patience. Doing something once and thoroughly is much more rewarding than having to go back and complete it a second or third time. In the same respect, leaving myself enough time to feel personally okay with something is important. We all have our skeletons in day-to-day life, and allowing a second to be patient with others and ourselves makes each day a little better. Not to mention, the patience allowed me to find more success within my apprenticeship. My writing, editing, learning, success and enjoyment were better when I was patient.

Personal meaning.

“Our minds influence the key activity of the brain, which then influences everything; perception, cognition, thoughts and feelings, personal relationships; they’re all a projection of you.” ~ Deepak Chopra

As humans we are always striving to find connection with one another. Sometimes it is through similar experiences, like being an apprentice, other times it is through common interest, like writing. Over the summer I found some relief when others had similar confusion, frustration or difficulties. It was a feeling that I wasn’t in it alone. I also found, after some trial and error, naturally, that when I shared content or wrote about things that carried personal meaning for me, I had more success. I also felt better about what people were viewing because I knew I could personally support it. It didn’t feel fake. Applying that elephant journal lesson to my daily life over the summer, I found myself connecting with people on a deeper level. Finding a quote that really spoke to me made me feel good. Then being able to share that success with other people who were working on similar pages allowed me to connect with them.

Pushed from comfort.

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” ~ Neale Donald Walsch

One of the first moments I felt like I was out of my box was moments after our first apprentice meeting. I was responsible for posting to my assigned Facebook page. I felt like the fate of the page was in my hands and I felt like I didn’t know enough to have that power. I figured it out; I had to after all. The next time was when I had to write my own article. What if they didn’t like it? What if it turns out horrible? The ‘what if’ was haunting me. Again, I figured it out. Realizing how quickly I could adapt outside my comfort zone for writing, editing and posting made me fall in love with what I was doing. The feeling of trying and succeeding was rewarding. In my summer routine I reminded myself of these successes. I pushed myself to try some new things over the summer, too.


The patience, personal meaning, and being pushed outside my comfort zone were much more than I expected from when I initially joined elephant journal for the summer. I thought I would walk away educated, published and happy. I didn’t anticipate that I would also gain the power of these P words.

I remember one of my first weeks posting to Facebook, thinking, “sh*t, what did I get myself into?” In the beginning I felt so overwhelmed needing to post so much every single day while also writing, editing and collaborating with the rest of my apprentice class. But as I applied my patience with time, I found success with personal meaning and was pushed out of my comfort zone.

Whenever I branch out on new adventures, whether they are educational, physical or experience based, I always face some good, bad and ugly. It is what makes me grow as a person.

Comparing how I felt the first week to when my first article went live is the perfect example. The first week I didn’t know where to start, or how to make what felt like flying pieces all fit together. Sometime in the middle of the summer I remember I was walking down to my soccer game when I received a notification on my phone. My first article had been published and was live. The excitement of succeeding could be seen on my face and felt through my energy.

Overall, the opportunity I took over the summer was so rewarding, but it took challenges and failures to really feel the success and enjoyment of posting, writing and editing.



Author: Brook Bentley
Assistant Editor: Brook Bentley/ Editor: Caroline Beaton

Photo: Flickr/NedaAndel

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